Friday, January 21

The conflict of the public theater technicians comes to Congress at the most delicate moment of its negotiation

The conflict between the temporary workers of the national theaters continues open, which until now are receiving the support of the fixed and the companies, supporting a good number of strikes that have paralyzed premieres and functions. This Wednesday, accompanied by United We Can, the Platform of Technicians and Technicians Affected by the 2018 Public Employment Offer goes to the Congress of Deputies to register a petition to the Finance and Public Function Commission.

The councilors of public theaters without audiovisual FP will not be able to have a fixed place, even if they have decades of experience

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Carlos Sierra, a member of this Platform and a worker for the National Classical Theater Company, has spent eight years at the INAEM (National Institute of Performing Arts and Music) as a production assistant. “The Ministry of Public Function tells us that we cannot meet with them and that our interlocutor is the INAEM [perteneciente al Ministerio de Cultura] But this makes the case for us and, furthermore, it does not have the capacity to resolve, “he explains to this newspaper.” That is why we have decided to contact and inform the members of the Congressional Commission of our situation. We had already sent them information but thanks to United We Can we are going to let them know our situation first-hand. The objective is to get something to move, for the parliamentary groups to press for this to be unblocked, “he adds.

And it is that the conflict has reached a stalemate. Next Monday, December 27, a new assembly of the platform will take place to decide what to do. The spirits are not very high. There is a lot of wear and tear, they do not want to stop more functions, they know that the public and the companies are the most affected and that, in front of them, they have the great wall of the central administration. The situation is not easy. As they indicate, the INAEM has not contacted them since a meeting on December 3 where the negotiation was stalled.

That day the platform decided to change its strategy and the strike has intensified. However, it is aware that this strategy of continuous stoppages that affect only two hours to make the function impossible, is draining the support of companies and permanent personnel; Without the support of permanent staff, functions cannot be stopped. For now, the strike announced for December 30 is maintained, which will mean the cancellation of the Christmas concert at the Teatro de la Zarzuela. “We maintain it because there has been no news from INAEM or any attempt to contact. But we must decide whether to continue with such frequent strikes in 2022 or to change our strategy,” Sierra admits.

The origin

Over the years the INAEM has been hiring temporary and interim personnel for whom it accepted the Baccalaureate degree or higher. Since the Single Agreement for the General Staff of the General State Administration was approved in 2016, the INAEM knows that a change of criteria is necessary to achieve approval with Europe. This was ratified with the Fourth Single Agreement of the State Administration that was signed in March 2019, which requires that INAEM technicians, like those of the rest of the Administration, have the specific qualification of their specialty in higher degree of Vocational Training.

According to the Platform’s calculation, of the 246 INAEM temporary workers only 15% would be suitable for permanent positions. Something that has already been seen in the 57 positions that the Administration offered in extremis on July 31 of this year. Thus, many workers who have been working recurrently for the INAEM for years and who in many cases have more extensive and superior training than those requested but which are not homologated in the agreement, such as those trained by the Center of Technology of the Show of the own Ministry of Culture. Until now, public centers have been highly dependent on temporary status, as compared to 246 in the job market, the number of permanent places is 285.

The Platform has requested moratoriums for those graduates in Vocational Training degrees that are not exactly their specialty, and for those who are hired with a Baccalaureate degree or higher degrees. At the same time, it has asked that a new job bank not be called so that the job bank that was offered in 2018 and that could be in force until 2024 is maintained. None of these requests is currently accepted by the other parties: the Administration and the unions themselves. The agreement was only reached in July of this year for certain specialties, such as machinery and props, which are only being taught in Valencia. In this way, a moratorium was approved for those cases with a higher degree and eighteen months of experience until this educational problem for the State was solved. Everything else is up in the air.

Opposing versions of a preliminary agreement

This conflict seemed to see the light of day at the end of November. The Secretary General of INAEM, José María Castillo López, met with the platform and informed them that there was a preliminary agreement after INAEM’s contacts with the two ministries involved. “We were informed that there was a pre-agreed INAEM proposal with the Public Function that they were going to take directly to the negotiating table of the joint commission,” where the UGT, CCOO and CESIF unions are present. “The proposal did not contain everything we asked for but it was a step forward because it included moratoriums for higher degrees and Professional Training. As an act of goodwill we called off the work stoppages for November 26 and 27 since the INAEM assured us it was done, “Sierra explains. “And at the same meeting, the Public Function argued that the INAEM proposal had not followed the proper course, so they could not study it and they called the INAEM working group to study it. We understand that the INAEM has not deceived us but something It happened that it escapes us and we had no choice but to call for more strikes, “he clarifies.

That same table met again on December 3, but “UGT intervened and said that it did not accept the moratorium for higher degrees, the Public Function held on to this and said that it did not accept it either, and CCOO and CESIF took a profile”, according to Sierra. “Many affected are members of the UGT and we do not understand their position. They have not given us any compelling reason or any solution to support their position. They have ignored us, they are not interested,” he complains.

Javier Figueroa, general secretary of the UGT union section in the Ministry of Culture and Sports, confirms to this newspaper that “the UGT made this intervention in order not to accept moratoriums on higher qualifications.” But Figueroa does not agree that carrying out this intervention would cause a failure to reach an agreement. “It is false that there was a pre-agreement between the Public Service and INAEM on the higher qualification” and points out that according to its own sources, the Public Function is “against” including the validation of the higher qualifications as a means of access to the places. “It is a problem that comes from behind, the INAEM has not done anything in twenty years. Our hands are tied, we cannot demand a lower qualification from these employees than from the rest of the citizens who also want to access that public employment”, Figueroa emphasizes.

UGT bets on FP

For the UGT representative, “the easiest thing would be to request another moratorium” but, given that there are specialties that are present in other areas outside the INAEM, the problem arises as to whether they should request the same moratorium in the positions convened by other ministries. “UGT supports all citizens, including all those admitted to this public job offer who were left on the waiting list. For example, 260 people showed up for the few places there were for councilors. We understand that there is this qualification in the market. Here, the rights of many people collide and in this conflict we are only talking about people who have temporarily worked in the INAEM field, “he says. “Vocational training must be dignified and whoever has been trained there has all the capabilities to be able to acquire an experience quickly. The INAEM has a problem because it has a center that does not provide formal training. It will be a very good center but it is like another academy that It gives training of any kind. It is not approved. The problem belongs to the INAEM and for years it has decided not to undertake it. We know that our position is going to have a union cost and that we are losing people in the sector, but we cannot do anything else “, he concludes .

In this way comes an even more uncertain end of the year and on which the sixth wave of COVID-19 looms. A growth of contagions that is already having effects that the strikes have made invisible. Last weekend there were no performances of Untitled comedy programmed at the María Guerrero Theater of the National Dramatic Center. The reason was the stoppages but if they had not been called, the functions would not have been carried out because of the positives for coronavirus that activated the protocols. The same happened with the montage Alfonso the African, in which the functions are suspended due to the effects of the pandemic from December 16 to 25. Alerts on other mounts are also present and new suspensions are anticipated. A stoppage due to the coronavirus in public theaters in Madrid would mean, as happened in the labor struggles in France and Chile in 2020, for example, that the demands of the technicians would lose almost all their force.